Where Have I Been?

Where have I been?

For the past two days it was beige and windowless hotel conference rooms in Newark, New Jersey for a meeting.

At home, it's been about unpacking and organizing, debating towel colors as well as wondering if we will ever fix the floor downstairs that was left with a big funny discolored outline of the former owner's exercise mat. Or maybe we will find a rug instead.
This one's on sale.
But I think I'd like black & white better. I've coveted a rug that I saw in a magazine that was credited to Williams Sonoma Home, but I've never been able to find it on their site. I guess their publicist's work was for nought.
IKEA would be a good substitute, except this isn't in stock in my local superstore.If you haven't guessed already, after years of growing up surrounded by ornate oriental rugs, I'm craving some clean, uncomplicated patterns in my new home.
And preferably the same exact size as a rubber exercise mat that no longer lives here.

Little Bit of Crazy

Betsey Johnson jewelry: Just a little dose of her crazy outrageous design works for me.
I bought a pair of earrings on a bit of a whim, and I wear them much more than I thought I might. With Friday's yellow skirt, for example.

Found the Camera Cord!

I found the cord to connect the camera to the computer, so this will be a photo-heavy post, catching you up visually on what's transpired during the past week.

So here's the surprise that we found at our closing, discovering that the previous homeowners painted around their furniture instead of moving it. And here are all the boxes that we've been burrowing ourselves out of for about a week. This is what our cats were doing while we've been working. Lazy bums. Our diet has been terrible, ordering delivery or stopping for take-out. I interrupted a phone call with Jason's mom the other night to urgently whisper, "Get me a cheeseburger too! And a shake!" as Jason was placing his order at the Steak and Shake drive through. The only thing I have cooked on our fancy-schmancy Viking stove is...mac and cheese!For this reason, it was likely beneficial that we had some exercise scheduled. We escaped for the AIDS Walk on Saturday. It was a crystal blue day, sunny and pleasant. The walk was crowded. It was a little pitiful that the first runners were crossing the finish line as our walk began its parade forward. As we walked and saw more of the sweaty runners, I wanted to be running instead of stuck in walker traffic. I think my foot is ready to try some mileage on the treadmill. Our upper body strength was tested that night by lifting boxes off of store shelves, in an excursion to IKEA to address newly discovered furniture needs for our new home. I love IKEA. We could not have possibly purchased one more thing, as the car was tightly packed on the ride home. I am most tickled by the cabinet we found to use as a small pantry, that has glass doors where you can insert your own artwork. Our full-body workout continued Sunday, with brain muscles, as we puzzled over assembly instructions. Again, the cats were of no help. But how cute did those cabinets turn out with handmade paper I picked up Sunday morning? Note Jason in the background continuing to assemble more of the goods.

Fall Away

As happy as I was to wear my new, bright yellow, corduroy skirt today, it is with regret that I realize fall is coming. I love autumn, but I hate that it means that winter is not too far away. (T-shirt design above from Fullbleed.)

Let's Hear it for the Brow

I don't know who Megan Fox is. I think I heard on Ellen the other day (while I was at home, supposed to be unpacking) that she's married to Brian Austin Green. From the original 90210. (Are you old when they start remaking the television shows that you related to at the time?)

Whoever she is, I'm so happy that the stylists for her recent GQ spread gave her back her overplucked eyebrows. How cute do they look? (On the right.)
A good lesson for all of us. Do not over-tweeze. (Except maybe the male readers who should just address the monobrow middle.)


It's maybe one of my worst traits, but when I do something great (whether through honest effort, mistake, or lucky coincidence) I like to tell people about it. I am boastful.

But I'm also a little cognizant that as an adult, you need to temper this habit. Tell your friends, those who are not competitive and might be prompted to jealousy. Telling your family is usually ok too.

So today, when I got an email that I am among Chicago's Top 300 Fundraisers for the 5k on Saturday, I immediately thought, "Who can I tell? Who can I tell?!"

I was really happy. Honored. It's a little intoxicating realizing that I am making a little difference, fueled by the generosity of my friends and family.
And I get to go to a special VIP breakfast before the race with stuff like breakfast burritos and I swear something that's served with fig butter. (And it's not too late if you want to help me see if there's a prize for top 200! They don't tell you your official rank, but I'm guessing I'm not in the highest echelons.)

Thanks again to everyone who donated to me and Jason! You rock. I'd happily share my fig butter with you as gratitude.

Target: Missing the Mark

It's the small things. And I love it even more when the small things are also the affordable, found at Target things.

Ever since visiting Abby & David, probably I year ago, I coveted their bath towels. (Is it creepy that maybe they are learning about this just now?) I asked where they found their yummy, soft apricot towels.

Target! Thomas O'Brien.

So I made a resolution, once I found a home to buy (meaning I'd be there longer than my landlord not raising the rent or refusing to renew the lease), I'd get these towels. Holding to this promise was easier since our last apartment had black & white tiles and the in-store, Target towel palette was all earthy warm tones. (I see now that they have added a Brights line... ironically as we have finally moved into the earth tone style bathroom.)

Less than 10 days in the new home and it was time, at last, for towels. Off to the local Target. I rounded the corner of the towel aisle to see that I might have waited for the perfect time, a big SALE sign was clipped to the shelf.

The empty shelf.

If I were interested in one sage green towel, a mountain of chocolate brown bathmats, and a smattering washclothes in differing shades of blue, I would have been in business. But, no. No, when you wait this long and obsess over wrapping yourself in the soft loveliness of the a surprisingly affordable towel, you want your pick of colors. Darn it. Where is the soft sage??!!

Not to mention Target didn't have the long sheer curtains I wanted, or the iron I laughed at Jason for but then dropped and broke the steam button.

I guess I'll be ordering online instead. Pottery Barn has already beat Target by having in-stock sheers.

Channeling Chanel

I am not sure if I should assign Tivo to look for future showings of the docudrama, Coco Chanel, on Lifetime. I heard it got not very good reviews, including Shirley McClain as our heroine.

"..the strong, forceful Chanel would never welcome the premise of this biographical movie - that her success was a result of the tragic relationships she had with men," - Boston Herald. Seems like they gave her story the Lifetime treatment.

I tuned into a few minutes late on Monday night, but was not riveted. Sometimes you have to be in the mood for these period pieces: men going off to war, hats that never cause hat hair, the clip clop of horses' hooves.

I may anxiously just wait for Audrey Tatou in an upcoming version, which focuses on Chanel before her fame in fashion, and presumably how she got to where she did. I love Audrey Tatou.

Thoughtful Part II

Another thing that reminds me of the generosity of the people I love was the fact that I've had to log onto the homepage of the charitable 5k I'm doing this Saturday and revise my fundraising goal up multiple times.

I sent out the little email asking for just $5 or $10 from a bunch of folks, and rapidly my number went into triple digits. Jason has also quickly exceeded his fundraising goals too thanks to his friends and family.

It's totally amazing. I have to think about this more often, especially when I feel like I'm getting pulled down by the jerks of this world, and starting to act like them rather than rise above.

You'll find us in the Chicago AIDS Foundation's 5k on Saturday. As many of you may know this is directly related to the work I do everyday working on a drug for HIV.

And after clearing it against the Ohio State schedule this weekend, it will also be a nice way to spend an hour with Jason on what will hopefully be a beautiful fall day. (You know you are married to a Buckeye fan when you find yourself putting the pivotal Ohio State games on your Lotus Notes calendar at work... and you're not even a football fan.)

If I missed you on the donation email and/or you might still like to throw a few coins our way, you can sponsor me or Jason by looking up our names here.

Happy Birthday

Today's the day when I realize how sweet and thoughtful lots of the people in my life are: They remember my birthday. (Many aided by Facebook these days.)

And feel terribly embarrassed by how many people's birthdays I forget, or remember belatedly. At the end of the day, I wonder if I deserve the thoughtful friends I have.

Let's just have cake.

After the stress of moving and two solid days of RAIN, it was cheering to have brunch with friends Allison and Andrea and then go to our local favorite Korean place for dinner with Jason. (An unplanned dinner, since we're still considering where to go for the fancy, special, combined birthday dinner where we also celebrate Jason's September 29th special day. Although he's plotting an excursion to Mongolian BBQ. I'm not sure if this counts as "special" in the way I meant it though.)

I just wish I could have gone to the Renegade Craft Fair this weekend, but the rain was interminable. Bummer.


The movers were pulling the blankets off our furniture and walking back to their truck. We opened the door to the bathroom where we'd had the cats sequestered all day. I felt so settled and relieved yesterday evening.
Our move was over.
Our house hunt was over.
We have a home.

I'm not so sure why I felt so relieved, because this morning I woke up to remember that there are nearly a million boxes to unpack.

We didn't even try to unpack last night, we were both so tired from the week of running over to the new place every night to throw paint on walls and organize the old place for our move.

Instead we showered, realized that we had no idea which box held changes of clothes and walked down the street for dinner clothed in the clothes we did find. (Tip for anyone moving soon: pack an a bag as though you're going to a hotel for two days with clothes, toiletries and toothpaste.)

Jason's dinner aptly reflectly the appetite worked up over the week: a big juicy ribeye. My meal reflected the regrets I'd had over how poorly we've been eating while moving: Wendy's, pizza. I ordered a chicken breast sandwich.

Arriving Home we simply made our way through the corridors of boxes in the condo to our bed and there we collapsed.

After twelve hours of sleep it would seem that I should be ready for some very productive unpacking today.

I'd share pictures, but while I know where my camera is, the cord to connect it to the computer is in a box somewhere. I'll probably find it by Monday.

Thought for Day

I was driving to work today (taking a half day to get ready for our move tomorrow!) which means I had the small luxury of listening to the radio for an hour.
I wonder, why do NPR listeners donate and dedicate 'this hour' to their "4-year old, Max from Grammy and Gramps"?

Does Max listen to Morning Edition?

If so, I think I should fear Max. He probably kills the competition in "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" news quizzes and solves every puzzle from Puzzle Master Will Shortz.

He does Sudoku when he can't listen to the radio.

Favorite Things

Oprah has them, so why can't I? Here is are a couple of my very favorite things:

Bliss Vanilla Bergamot Body Butter.

Its warm and enveloping smell is so deeply indulgent. I think the bergamot adds a maturity to the smell of vanilla. It's not like the Body Shop Vanilla I wore in high school.

But my favorite Body Shop product is Vitamin E Eye Cream. Makes me feel a little bit like a middle age 50's housewife to be talking about eyecream, but I guess this is how I fight starting to look like that woman. There's just no substitute for it, I've tried. With sufficient moisturization, I hope to live forever.

Plans I Made vs. Plans I Had

After my car's Friday night tantrum I spent today revising the idea of what my weekend was going to be. I realized early in the morning that the plans I'd made were no longer the plans I had.

Generous angel friend Allison allowed me to borrow her car this morning to run to the paint store so that I could get some supplies and the weekend would not be totally lost. Ironically I started up her car and discovered that her check engine light is also illuminated. But the difference is that her entire car does not vibrate when the MPH goes above 25.

After finding a local repair shop the old-fashioned way (Yellow pages, I knew there was a reason I didn't throw you away!) I chugged the car over there. Just three miles. I rationalized that even if I made it halfway a 1.5 mile tow might be cheaper than a 3 mile tow.

As I pulled in the owner greeted me with "Check engine light?" He must have known it was me that called urgently at 7:15 am. He gave a quick whistle to the mechanics in the back, "Hey, we gotta a lady in here. Watch your language!"

With a couple hours to wait I asked for a recommendation of a nearby coffee shop, and was directed to a mod little breakfast place. Over my Key Lime & Blueberry French Toast I reflected that this was an enjoyable surprise in the day. I sat at the counter surrounded by attentive staff. The cook walked out and leaned against the wall to inquire, "How was your meal, Miss? Key lime?" My head nodded quickly, "Yummy!" He gave a smile and a wink and returned to the kitchen. The staff was the winkiest I've ever seen. "More coffee?" Smile. Wink. "Syrup?" Smile. Wink.

I passed the balance of waiting for the car sitting on a park bench, watching what appeared to be a lesbian football team practice. Maybe they weren't lesbians, I guess a bunch of women playing football just seems a little butch. But I caught up with friend Ellyn on the phone, so this was another unexpected break from what might have been a hustle-bustle day.

The rest of the day had some surprises that tested me:

My hair appointment was canceled. My hairdresser is so booked, I had made this appointment in July. It'll be November by the time I see her again!

The previous homeowners had like twelve different shades of gray in their home. While trying to fix the big space they'd left unpainted, I realized that I'd picked the wrong gray. Shoot. And halfway through the wall already. It's decided, this will become the dark gray accent wall in the living room.

We took a taxi to the hardware store down the street later in the afternoon (car is at the shop waiting for a part), only to find it had closed 30 minutes earlier.

After waiting for a bus for fifteen minutes we decided to walk it. Three buses then quickly passed us by.

Our walk was rewarded though, with the excitement of 6 police cars roaring to the same intersection. We have no idea what happened but there were 3 people with their hands down on the hoods of cruisers and two paddy wagons showed up. I was worried, hoping nothing had happened to our favorite local noodle/sushi shop since all this action went down right in front of its doors.

(The police station and the hardware store have two of the best signs in our neighborhood by the way, maybe even in the city.)

To pep up our step we stopped at the Mexican candy store, Dulcelandia. A pinata paradise. It's always been intriguing and since nothing else was working out for us, why not buy some candy? (They also have a fun sign.)The evening came to a most interesting end while we were walking home from parking Allison's car. Strolling by a condo with big picture windows: a buck-naked yuppie getting ice from his fridge. I clapped my hand over my mouth as my eyes popped. Jason chuckled.

What an end to the day. Can't wait to wake up tomorrow.


Remember when you were a teenager and your parents might have rolled their eyes at something you'd done (or worn) and you could later hear them telling their friends on the phone, "It must be a phase she's going through..."

So what's wrong with a phase? Liking something for few moments, indulging deeply but momentarily, and then moving onto something else. (I kind of think that's what fashion is all about, right?)

Anyway, I'm going through a bit of a phase now. A pretty distinct one too: the cute skull.

Cute skull cards by Made by Girl.

Coin purse with secret skulls inside from ObscuritiesHotGlass via etsy.

This is a delicate look; it could go too goth, too piratey, or too Mexican Dia de Los Muertos easily.
If it looks too real it would also be creepy.
Good thing this is a phase, because it's clearly not easily sustainable.


Why does this happen when you have to get to the Lowes? When you had plans for getting SOOO much accomplished tonight?
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid car.
I bargained about whether I could make it there and back before they close tonight, but at heart I'm all Sally Safety so I turned around and went home to pout on the couch. Because driving there and then getting stranded would just make me stupid.
And I just had the 60k check-up two weeks ago!
(All you suburban dwellers probably don't get the calamity of this, but we're just a one car family so this is really frustrating.)
I guess I'm going have to channel the other side of the family with Rachel Relax and Go with the Flo-rence. Ugh.
This is one of the times when I want my Dad. Even though he knew just as little about cars as me. But if he could tell me it'd be ok to drive to Lowes, that'd be nice. (I called Jason instead.)

Live Blogging from my Couch II

Not to let this go by without comment, but I confess I felt a little sick to my tummy hearing Sara Palin speak last night. Shoot, she did a good job.
I SO wholeheartedly disagree with SO many of her positions (women's choice at the top of the list, and the answer to the energy crisis is not about drilling more!), but she was really dynamic and kind of funny even. It reminds of how much of politics (and life) is about charisma and good presentation.

What's worse, I apparently find myself agreeing with Karl Rove these days, who made the comment that Palin was a choice to win the election, not to govern.

And darn it, her 7-year-old daughter is so cute, and shares the name of our kitten, Piper. She also shared her secret hairstyling tricks last night at the convention.


Today we are homeowners. From the handfuls of keys that were handed over to us you'd think we bought the whole building. There's nothing better than standing in the pouring, pouring rain and trying to figure out which key works in which of the double locks. I think the remnants of Gustav came to welcome us home. All I could think in the early hours of the morning, hearing the rain come down and pitter patter on the windows, was that I was very glad this was our closing day and not our wedding day. It's been pouring a steady rain all day. So I'm still damp from getting soaked while muddling through keys, but I'm a homeowner.

The closing closed today with only small surprises. Like that the sellers were too lazy to move their furniture when they painted so there are big swaths of white wall where their furniture used to be. Fortunately they left gallons of paint behind. Unfortunately, they are just about as well labeled as the keys. There was also a big discolored area on the cherry wood floors where their gym equipment had sat on a rubber mat. (If anyone knows how to expertly restain floors I'm offering a weekend in Chicago for you!)

In the afternoon I motored over to the local independent paint store and picked up a few samples. I think we're favoring Pismo Dunes for the bedroom.
The wooden fish is keeping an eye on the place tonight. (A birthday gift from my mom to my dad, the hapless fisherman.) I had to do this list of all our possessions for our mover's insurance. Since I can't figure out how to value him, I moved him myself. Not a bad first thing to carry over the threshold. That and Jason's hockey bag.

Live Blogging from my Couch

I'm watching all the white people at the RNC tonight, and listening to Fred Thompson tell stories in folksy tones, interspersed with far more graphic details of McCain's imprisonment. (5 years is of that is unbelievable, I might grant McCain the right to be an angry grump when he wants to be.)

Oh wait, they just found a black woman in the audience.

Since the VP story is widely told and re-told over the internet I'll spare comment. But my one thought is: why not Christie Todd Whitman instead?

She's a maverick, resigning from the EPA later stating that it was due "...to Vice President Dick Cheney's insistence on easing air pollution controls." (But I guess she's also pro-choice, and we know how McCain feels about that. And there's a picture out there of her smiling while frisking a sixteen-year-old African-American boy.)

Is no politician perfect??? (Sarcasm.)
And how come the Republicans got the cuter mascot? Elephants are cuter than donkeys. Seriously, who picked the donkey?


Alexander McQueen dress
Pretty expensive too, at just over $4,000.
Pretty sure, I'll never own it. :)

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